Joe Simonson on July 25, 2018

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow opened her show Tuesday with what she thought was another devastating scandal for the White House. According to her expert analysis, President Donald Trump’s administration edited out a question from a Reuters journalist asking whether Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted Trump to win the 2016 election during their meeting on July 16 in Helsinki.

The problem for Maddow: That didn’t happen.

“We can report tonight that the White House video of that exchange has also skilfully cut out that question from the Reuters reporter as if it didn’t happen,” Maddow said.

Maddow also claimed the White House nefariously edited out the question from the official transcript. Except, as the Washington Post’s Phillip Bump pointed out, the media’s independent transcripts also doesn’t include the reporter asking “President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election?”

The omission has nothing to do with a conspiracy on the part of the Trump administration, but rather a change “between the feed from the reporters and the feed from the translator,” as Bump notes. You can even hear the question being asked in the White House version of the video.

Perhaps if Maddow is looking for an administration editing transcripts, she should remember how former President Barack Obama’s administration did just that.

Obama’s Department of Justice was caught in June 2016 editing out references to the Islamic State and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi from the 911 call made by Orlando, Florida, shooter Omar Mateen.

“They’re obviously making decisions that they believe are in the best interests of the investigation and of the broader community,” former press secretary Josh Earnest said at the time. “And I’ll leave it to the investigators who make those decisions to comment on it.”

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